The CW's Riverdale is filled with dark secrets, scandalous relationships and bitter family feuds, most of which center around the four main characters: Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, Archie Andrews, and Jughead Jones. Although this is a tight-knit group of friends, their personalities couldn't be more different, and for us, there is a clear favorite: Jughead (played by Cole Sprouse).
Apart from the fact that Sprouse's acting is superb, his character is much better than that of the other male lead, Archie (played by K.J. Apa). Jughead is sarcastic, witty, independent and a real friend. Below are 15 reasons why he trumps Archie -- and why he's possibly the greatest character in Riverdale.
15 Jughead deals with his problems in a mature way
All the characters in Riverdale have their problems, and they all deal with them in very different ways. But Jughead's problems are by far the most serious: his dad is a borderline alcoholic and a gang member, his mom and his sister, Jellybean, have moved away, and for a while he was homeless -- he stayed in the art house drive-in before it was shut down.
Despite these problems, which could have made him bitter and hard, Jughead remains level-headed and mature, dealing with each problem as it arises. Now, not to bash Archie, but his problems pale in comparison, as his biggest concerns (for most of the series at least) seem to be finding a balance between his music and football, or deciding which girl he wants to date.
14 Jughead gives people a second chance
You would think that after being let down so many times Jughead would have lost his faith in people, however, he proves time and time again during Season 1 that is he always willing to believe the best in people -- even when he knows there's a possibility he is going to get burned.
The greatest example of this is his relationship with his father, FP Jones.
FP Jones has a lot of demons: He has a serious drinking problem, he battles to hold down a job, and he is also a part of the resident gang in Riverdale, the Southside Serpents. Yet despite the many times that FP has let Jughead down (by promising to change, although it never happens), Jughead is still willing to give his dad the benefit of the doubt.
13 Archie is a liar
No character in Riverdale is perfect, but when it comes to honesty, Jughead is the winner, because on more than one occasion, Archie has lied. And worse still, he's lying to the people he cares about, like his father, Fred Andrews. He tells him he is too busy playing football (when what he's really doing is focusing on his music) to work on the construction site after school, and he lies to his football coach, Coach Clayton, telling him that he's working for his dad.
He also chose to lie about where he was on the morning of Jason's disappearance to protect himself (and the fact that he was having an affair with the high school music teacher, Ms. Grundy). Of course, the reasons for his lies make sense, but unlike Archie, Jughead is (mostly) brutally honest.
12 Jughead knows what he wants...
In Season 1 alone, Archie has been linked to several women: Veronica, Valerie, Cheryl (although he was using her and her family to further his career, and not really romantically interested in her), and even Miss Grundy. Of course, it's normal for teenagers to change relationships, but unlike Archie, Jughead knows what he wants, and he only wants one woman: Betty Cooper.
It's rare for someone to be that sure about what they want, and this is what makes Jughead so great. Instead of getting caught up in drama, and the passion of new relationships, Jughead is the kind of guy who will devote all his time and attention to Betty -- the pair are so serious about each other that Veronica even refers to them as "soul mates."
11 ...And he's fiercely loyal
Archie is a good guy, and his heart may be in the right place, but no one is more loyal that Jughead. One of the best examples of Archie's shortcomings in the honesty department is when he decides to go behind Jughead's back to help Veronica Lodge search FP's trailer -- to see if there is anything linking her father, Hiram Lodge, and FP, to Jason Blossom's murder.
They find nothing, and although Archie may have been trying to help out another friend, he betrayed Jughead in the process. What this shows is that sometimes Archie's loyalty is skewed, whereas Jughead is fiercely loyal. Earlier in the season, Jughead stumbled upon Archie and Ms. Grundy in a passionate embrace in the music room and he confronted Archie about this.
Archie came clean about the steamy affair, and even though Jughead didn't like it and advised his friend that Ms. Grundy cared more about herself than she did for him, he kept the secret.
10 Jughead wouldn't have been playing games in the closet
Now, we can't really blame Archie and Veronica for what happened when they found themselves alone in a closet at a party -- playing 7 Minutes In Heaven -- because the pair clearly have a connection. However, they did betray Betty, who had so recently declared her feelings for Archie only to be rejected (and it was Veronica who encouraged her to tell her BFF her true feelings).
The worst thing about this moment is that, apart from the fact that Archie and Veronica knew that if they made out they would hurt Betty, they did it in the worst place possible: at a party which Betty was also in attendance.
No matter what way you look at it, Veronica and Archie pulled a jerk move, and that's because they were thinking about themselves, rather than the feelings of others. And while Jughead may be odd and quirky, he is in tune with other people's feelings.
9 He's independent and resilient
Jughead's circumstances (mostly with regards to his family life) have forced him to grow up much faster than the other characters in the series. While they are getting drunk at birthday parties, worrying about relationship drama and involving themselves in high school politics, Jughead has more serious problems and therefore remains an observer to these trivial antics.
His circumstances have made him an independent person, and Jughead relies on no one but himself to get him what he needs. He is fearless. While the reasons for why he had to become independence is heartbreaking, this backstory not only makes for great TV, but it also makes Jughead a well-rounded character.
8 Archie is so unbelievably naive
Archie might be talented on the football field and with his music, but when it comes to street smarts, he's incredibly naive. Firstly, he got involved with a teacher at his school (she should have known better, but the fact remains it still happened), but he also decided to take matters into his own hands during Chapter Eight: The Outsiders, when he and a group of his friends went to the Southside to visit the Serpents' bar, the Whyte Wyrm, in the hopes of discovering who was responsible for destroying his father's construction site.
This adventure ends very badly, with an altercation with one of the gang's members, Mustang, and if FP Jones had not stepped in to save Archie and his friends, they may have joined the list of murder victims in Riverdale. But what this bad decision proves is that Archie still has to learn about life.
7 The truth is important to Jughead
The plot in Riverdale centers around the lives of the students at Riverdale High School, but also focuses heavily on the murder of Jason Blossom -- and in every episode viewers, are left wondering who the murderer could be, and in what way the other characters could be implicated in this murder.
Finding out what really happened to Jason is important to Jughead. We see this when Jughead takes an active role in searching for clues about what happened to Jason by joining Betty and at the school newspaper, The Blue and Gold. This ultimately leads the pair to discover what really happened to Polly, to find out that Ms. Grundy's car was at Sweetwater River on July 4, and it also leads them to Jason's getaway car.
6 Archie chooses his music career over his friends
It's good to be passionate about something, and it's good to have drive, but Archie can at times be selfish when it comes to his music career. We saw this in "Chapter Six: Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!" when he decided to ditch Veronica last minute because he had the opportunity to sing at the school talent show with Valerie Smith, instead -- meaning he didn't really care about Veronica's feelings, even though she volunteered to help him because he was afraid to sing alone. Talk about selfish!
But he also did something pretty awful to his supposed best friend, Jughead. He cancelled a road trip (which Jughead was so clearly looking forward to), which was meant to take place on Fourth of July -- the day of Jason Blossom's disappearance -- so that he could have a steamy affair with his high school teacher!
5 Jughead is deep, like really deep
Not to bash Archie (Okay, we mean to a little), because all the characters have their flaws, but Jughead is a much deeper person. As previously mentioned, while Archie's concerns are typically about juggling his music career and deciding which girl he's interested in (and there have been a few), Jughead is far more worldly and not concerned with petty things like relationship drama.
This is partly because he's had it tough and his home life is far from ideal, but it's also more than just a product of his environment. Jughead has a strong personality. While he's a bit of a loner he's also level-headed, and the voice of reason. Plus, he's compassionate and perceptive -- when he could choose to be an entirely different person because of the harsh cards that life has dealt him.
4 Jughead is the perfect gentleman
Jughead's relationship with Betty is adorable: when she was upset about the situation with her sister, Polly, he comforted her by simply putting his arm around her. He listened to her problems when she needed someone to confide in after discovering that Polly had been sent away to Sisters of Quiet Mercy. And he walked her home after an organized search of Eversgreen Forest. Awww.
We're not saying Archie isn't a good guy, but he did ditch his sort-of girlfriend, Valerie Smith, because he was spending a lot of time with the Blossoms, especially Cheryl, and he was doing this so that he could further his music career -- Penelope Blossom promised to help him get into some exclusive summer music program.
3 Jughead has a dark sense of humor
One of the things that make Jughead such a great character (and arguably the best one of the show) is his sense of humor. He's witty (although it's usually cynical), sarcastic and incredibly dry, and some of the gems that he has produced during Season 1 include his comments to Reggie Mantle -- after Mantle accused him of murdering Jason Blossom.
Reggie said, "What was it like, Suicide Squad? When you shot Jason? You didn't do stuff to the body, did you? Like... After?" To which Jughead responded, "It's called necrophilia, Reggie.. Can you spell it?"
Another example of Jughead's savage humor can be seen in a conversation he had with Archie. He said, "Hi. Do you think I could use Jason Blossom's death as an excuse to get out of PE? 'Sorry Coach, I'm just too freaked out and depressed right now to do pull ups.'" Needless to say, Archie was not impressed.
2 Archie embarrassed Jughead in front of loads of people
In Riverdale's Season 1, Archie and Jughead have a pretty strained relationship, and this was not made any better by the fact that after Archie and his jock friends went to the Southside Serpent's bar, he discovered that FP Jones (Jughead's dad) was a part of the gang. Archie was upset upon his discover, but instead of confronting Jughead one-on-one (like Jughead did to Archie when he learned of his affair with Ms. Grundy), Archie barged into Veronica's home during Betty's sister Polly's baby shower to confront Jughead about something deeply personal, and he didn't care who heard. This move was untactful, childish, and hurtful for Jughead, who had a perfectly good reason for not revealing his dad's connection to the Southside Serpents: he was afraid of how people would react.
1 Jughead is flawed -- and he embraces these qualities
Jughead is far from perfect, but then again he really isn't trying to be. Instead, he stays true to himself and embraces his quirks and oddities. This is one of the most endearing things about his character. Despite the fact that Jughead is seen by others as a weirdo social outcast, and to many he remains a mystery, it is because of these reasons that his character is so unique.
He's not trying to conform to the standards set out by society, and he is not trying to be like the other kids in Riverdale High School. It's important to see a character like this being portrayed in pop culture, because it lets teenagers know that it's OK to be different. In fact, being different can be really great.